My father came from pretty humble beginnings. Neither of his parents had a high school education, and he was born in the depression. He told me that, looking back, they were pretty poor, but since everyone else in the area was in the same shape financially, he never really thought of them as poor.
They hunted and grew gardens and by his admission, they never went hungry. They didn't have money for any luxuries, but they had plenty to eat.
He told me that he went to the closest Navy recruiter on his 18th birthday and joined up.
He and Sainted Mother were married and he went off to the Navy.
He went around the world twice, though he never talked about it very much. Not that he was traumatized like someone who had seen combat, but he was a quiet man and the subject of his service in the Navy didn't come up much. As close as he came to combat was during the Korean War, when the destroyer he served on shelled the mainland from way off shore from time to time.
I had asked him when he joined, was he drafted or what, but he told me he just joined of his own accord on his 18th birthday. There weren't many job opportunities in LaSalle Parish in 1952.
When Lovely Wife and I were in Louisiana right after Christmas, I scanned these three photos of Don C. in the Navy. These represent about 45 minutes work on each photo to get them into this presentable condition.
He was a gunner's mate and worked in one of the big guns on his ship. He told me he also had the responsibility of grabbing a .22 rifle and heading upstairs to fire upon any sharks that might surround any man who might fall overboard. It never happened, but they had drills and he once got into some minor trouble for once firing a few rounds around the dummy they threw overboard.
He said he grew up without being hungry, but he sure was a thin man when young. Sainted Mother said he had a 28inch waist when he joined the Navy. She claims he could easily hide behind a telephone pole. (I had a 28inch waist about the time I was in the fourth grade. :)
I really like that "secret agent man" look he has in the final photo.
I'm so glad to have these photos of him on his ship, in action, so to speak.